In a fight that almost ended in a double-knockout, Matt Mitrione picked up the biggest win of his career with a 74-second finish of the legendary Fedor Emelianenko in the heavyweight co-main event of Bellator NYC at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.
The end came after both men landed simultaneous right-hand bombs that put each of them on their butts. It was the less battle-worn Mitrione who recovered first, and he crawled on top of Emelianenko to fire off ground-and-pound that left the once unbeatable Russian flat on the canvas.
It was an unceremonious return to the United States for "The Last Emperor" who hadn't competed in North America in nearly six years. He failed to make it to the final bell in his last three U.S. fights, and this one was no different.
Mitrione becomes just the third man to defeat Emelianenko by KO (excluding his first professional loss that came as the result of a cut from an accidental illegal elbow) and just the fifth man to add a loss to Emelianenko's 42-fight resume. He is 3-0 since making the jump from the UFC to Bellator last June.
For the 40-year-old Emelianenko, his time with Bellator could be over before it's even begun.